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Training - Higher Education and University

Retraining or adding to your skills is not always possible. Cost, particularly when you are struggling already can be a significant barrier. Getting an employer to allow you time off so that you can study for high qualification even in your current work area could be impossible.

The government claim that there is a shortage of graduates and that the future work force will require to be better educated. But they are not expanding the number of university places to reflect this demand and training in business is not deemed a business expense. 

Many jobs have been outsourced to regions of the world where the labour force is cheaper. Call centres in many of these countries are manned by staff with University degrees. Many skilled jobs require a local work force and are not so easy to outsource and at the same time do not need a degree for entry. Basic training, e.g. in computing and PC office applications is not sufficient. You need particular technical and business skills to improve your chances in the middle market labour force. Colleges of Further & Higher Education will have a number of courses, particularly in IT and business studies.

If you do not have a degree you are entitled to get grants and living costs loans just as any other student. The hurdle may be the entrance qualification. Some universities may accept previous work experience and other qualifications as alternatives to A Level. Personal determination and initiative to contact and seek guidance from the admissions office for a course may find you closer to a placement than you think. The admissions tutor should also be able to explain what the studying would require and the amount of back ground work needed to make up for not having recent examination success in A Level.

Costs and family commitment may rule out a full time degree course. Many of the former polytechnics offer training and courses that could built up to a degree. The Open University has allowed thousands of people to get degrees through a combination of home study, local support tutors, week-end and weekly resident courses.

With a degree, not only are you able to apply for more profession employment, you may find your salary potential doubles, if not quadruples, for the rest of your working life. This could amount to between half and over a million pounds and with far better odds than winning on the lottery.

Don't let the lack of income deter you from getting the qualifications to enter University. Like any business, if your business plan is solid and you can show the returns on investment then there is no reason not to get loans from banks with fair repayment terms. Once at University you can apply for the standard student loans which you only start to repay once you achieve a minimum annual earning.


The answer to when you should update your job skills is - always! With the U.S. and European economies still slumping many workers may be considering what their employment future could be like if they were to lose their job. Consider updating your job skills immediately. Examine what your skills deficits may be. For instance, are you up to date on computer programs? Your employer may even pay for your continuing education. Career colleges offer courses with flexible times so you can work and update your skills.

On the other hand, if you're one of the over eight million people (US, 3 million UK) who is currently looking for full or part-time work, updating your skills could be very important to your future. Again, you should assess your current educational inventory. Consider the industry you've been in and see if it makes sense to change. There are a lot of openings in sales, healthcare and computer related industries. The difficult could be the choices - pick one line of study precludes others. Then you find the job offered needs a different skill and your newly gained skill isn't the one needed.

Finally, if you feel safe in your current job, create a strategy of cross-training. Make yourself valuable to your employer, so that you could easily move to another department within the company. Advancing your computer skills is one of the best ways to do this. Improving your sales skills is another. By creating added value to your employer, you put yourself far down the lay-off list.

Sometimes a career move may involve looking on the inside rather than on the outside. Reflect on where your interests are and what your current skill set is. Perhaps you are interested in accounting, but you've spent most of your career in marketing. It might be time to upgrade your skills. It's a good idea to stay current in your industry by subscribing to multiple trade magazines. If you need to advance your education, now is the time to do it!

It can be as little as upgrading your technical skills to earn a better paying position. When asked in an interview why you don't have the requisite technical skills, offer to learn them after hours. It shows the recruiter your flexibility and that you're serious about getting the job. Depending on your career pursuits, enrolling in a distant learning program might be the ticket. Distant learning programs and online classes allow busy professionals who must juggle work and family with their studies the opportunity to earn a degree on the weekends or after work.

These days many corporations are even willing to invest $1,500-$25,000 to upgrade their managers' business and leadership skills. These increasingly popular training courses are designed to offer managers a quick way to gain the skills necessary to compete in today's changing workplace. All in all the road to a new Job is paved with steadfast rules: continually upgrade your skills, craft a blockbuster resume, network with determination, dress professionally, and ace the interview: However, it's the fortitude, foresight, and finesse you apply in paving that road that makes the difference.



training and development

Last updated 20th January 2011